The ABCs of Construction Software Licensing in 2019
The ABCs of Construction Software Licensing in 2019
Construction professionals might face quite a few challenges when it comes to their IT requirements. Should I invest heavily in a construction management software? How will software licensing impact my business? And how do I choose amongst the top construction software solutions on the market?
These questions are often just the tip of the iceberg – and perhaps especially so if you run a small construction business.
And then, when you have finally weighed your options and settled on your off-the-shelf software, you discover that you’ll need to purchase a license, too. Does this all sound confusing and time-consuming? Here’s a quick guide to everything you need to know about construction software solutions and licensing in 2019. Let’s get started!
The Basics of Software Licensing
Purchasing a software can be complicated.
And especially so because the licensing of software solutions always starts with a statement that many new buyers often find highly confusing: it informs you that you don’t own the software product you just bought. In other words, when you buy a software, you’re not actually buying the software.
Rather, you’ve purchased a license to use the product. As long as you abide by the terms and conditions, your license will remain valid. In general, all the information regarding the product license are found in the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA).
While the software licensing allows you to use a specific software product, there are a few limitations that you, as the end user, must first consider. This can include
- The number of users
- The type of environment/devices you can install
- How many modifications you’re able to do on your copy
This is why you must always go over the End User Licensing Agreement whenever you’ve purchased a new software system for your company, regardless of whether it’s a specialised software for construction industry or any other type of software application.
Free Open Source vs Paid Licensing Construction Software
When acquiring your new software, there’s another question you must also consider: Do you opt for a free open source software? Or should you invest in a paid proprietary software?
Both open source and paid licensing software come with advantages and disadvantages. And deciding which way to go will largely depend on the resources of your organisation.
For construction companies with limited capital, the open source route is likely to be highly appealing. On the other hand, larger companies are likely to be more comfortable with an off-the-shelf proprietary software. This is mostly due to convenience, ease of use and a general consumer trust in the vendor. But then again, if you’re choosing proprietary software you’re going to have to deal with licensing as well as the benefits and limitations associated with them.
Pros and Cons of Open Source Software
- Free open-source software often means no upfront costs
- Open-source software allows the end user to fully customise the software, through the available source code, according to their specifications
- Bug fixes, upgrades, and regular maintenance updates are available through a large community of developers, programmers, and experts who are constantly working on the product
- There is very little customer support available. Even though there is a large community of developers and IT professionals, it may take a while to address the issue you’re experiencing
- The system may not have the features that you ordinarily expect from licensed off-the-shelf solutions. Trade-specific tools such as drawing markups and punch lists may not be available as well
- Open-source software is fully customisable, which is a great thing. The downside is that with custom development, setup, and integration often comes high costs for the organisation
Pros and Cons of Paid Licensing and Proprietary Software
- Vendors normally provide free or premium customer support and user training that organisations can take advantage to improve usage efficiency
- With paid licensing proprietary software, you can expect industry-specific feature ready-to-use out of the box, such as a construction report app, equipment management and so on for construction software solutions
- You can expect regular updates and enhancements for the product
- Users will have to make do with what the software can offer in terms of customised functionality and features, since most licensed products have limited customization options.
- Some paid licensing proprietary software solutions are not designed to integrate seamlessly with third-party programs like job costing and accounting solutions.
- With proprietary software solutions, recurring license and maintenance costs can be quite expensive, especially for smaller construction firms and start-ups.
Choosing Construction Software
If you’re a construction firm or a small contractor looking to avoid paying extra for construction software UK licensing, you might benefit from going down the open source route.
However, if you’re a construction manager at a large company you’re likely to have bigger demands and more advanced needs. If this is the case, an open source solution might not be enough for you. Furthermore, customer support is typically limited with open-source programs. Yes, having a large community of developers, IT experts, and programmers to help develop the program is indeed a good thing. But this doesn’t mean that if you encounter a problem with the software, the community can address it immediately.
On the other hand, if you’re going the paid licensing route, you need to understand that when dealing with vendors, you can try to negotiate your own licensing terms. One way of doing this is to have your software custom-made. While this is likely to give you the exact solution you need, this approach is still quite expensive, meaning that it’s not really an option for small construction firms or individual contractors.
Find the Software for You
The software market is a highly saturated place these days, and it can be difficult to navigate. If you’re looking for the best construction software for you – or you’re just curious to see what options are out there – you can get free expert advice from our team of dedicated software experts. Simply fill out the form to your right, and one of our experts will be in touch shortly.
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